Jas 1:5-8 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”
Have you ever felt like you were falling short when it comes to wisdom concerning the things of God? Where do we turn when we lack wisdom? The Bible is full of instruction and godly counsel. There are many writers who have left us commentaries and histories which may help shed light on particular practices and situations from Bible times up to our world today. The Internet is an almost inexhaustible source of information. These can all be wonderful resources for us with the Bible at the top of the list. However, we can study all these materials until we know them up, down, and sideways and still not have wisdom.
Wisdom is defined as the “ability to judge correctly and to follow the best course of action, based on knowledge and understanding (Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary).” All the knowledge and understanding in the world will not make us wise. When we are blessed to understand that we are falling short in the area of wisdom there is only one place we can turn; we must ask God. We know that our ability to read (and thus know and have some understanding) of the written word of God comes from Him. James says that we do not get ability from God to gain wisdom; wisdom itself comes directly from God. God gives wisdom to those who ask for it.
Not only does God give wisdom, but He gives it in abundance. He does not reproach us for coming to Him for wisdom. When we come to God asking for wisdom it shall be given! The promise of scripture is that God will not withhold wisdom from those who come to Him to receive it. He will not dole it out in a miserly fashion, but will give it bountifully. We must realize that to truly ask something of God, we must ask in faith.
If we ask God for wisdom, it must be with full confidence in our hearts that He is going to hear that request and grant it in abundance. Wisdom is the principle (chief) thing according to Solomon (Pro 4:7); without it, our knowledge and understanding may be misdirected. It takes study to know the word of truth, and wisdom to rightly divide the word of truth. We should not waver (hesitate) in asking God for wisdom, seeing there is no other source for it.
He has given us His word here that, when we ask it of Him without hesitation in the full confidence that He will do as He has said, He will make us abundantly wise. Why, then, does there seem to be such a great lack of wisdom among those that profess to be Christians today? According to James, it is because we are double-minded.
On the one hand, we say we want the wisdom that comes from God, but on the other we are busy filling up our lives with the lust of this world. Instead of hungering and thirsting after righteousness, we want to be sure we can win that next tournament, get that next promotion, or buy that latest technological marvel. We become ashamed of our inconstancy and go crying to God on Sunday morning to forgive us; we promise Him to do better. On Monday, we go right back to chasing the things the world has told us will make us successful.
There is great wisdom in following the words of Jesus to seek the kingdom of heaven first. We know that He said it and we understand what He meant, but we lack wisdom to know how to perform this simple admonition. We go to God to ask Him for wisdom and them we hesitate; what if seeking the kingdom first means we actually have to put His kingdom first? That might mean that men won’t think we are being successful. We might actually have to put our service to God and His people ahead of our own personal wants. So we hesitate (waver), and we are pulled back and forth (driven with the wind and tossed) between what our heart knows is right and what our mind tells us we want. We need not expect to receive anything of the Lord in this condition.
Please do not despair at this reading. What we have set before us is the wonderful truth of God that there is a way to calm the churning waters of our life. Instead of worrying about how we can balance all the demands that seem to be coming at us, we need to put our trust in God. We need to take time for His word and ask Him for wisdom. He will give bountifully; be confident in Him and do not hesitate. He will never fail (leave or forsake) us!
May we go to Him without hesitation and believe that He is going to make us abound in wisdom when we ask it of Him!